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Big M Fishery good for the entire family

By: Paul Apfel Inside Lincoln Correspondent
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Know and Go: What: Big M Fishery Where: 280 Westland Road, off of Nicolaus Road Open: 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays to Sundays Information: 645-0802 or bigmfishery.com Big M Fishery good for the entire family By Paul Apfel Inside Lincoln Correspondent Family fun on Father’s Day doesn’t get any better than what you can experience at Big M Fishery, a 20-acre fishing and recreational site located approximately five miles west of the Lincoln Airport, just off Nicholas Road. This unique fish farm features five fishing ponds ranging in size from ½- to five-acres teeming with catfish, trout, blue gills and bass plus several picnic areas to prepare the fish you’ve just caught. That would be catfish and trout because blue gills and bass are catch-and-release only, plus whatever other dining morsels you’ve brought with you. Big M will celebrate this coming Father’s Day on June 19 at Big M with a catfish fishing derby from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The $22.50 per person entry fee gets the anglers lunch as well as a chance to win the grand prize, a season pass to Big M. Second and third place prizes are a $45 and $30 gift certificate to Big M Fishery, respectively. With a staff of five, all either Lincoln High School students or graduates, Big M gets high marks for customer service and efficiency. One customer recently exclaimed, “What a great place to fish.” Citing the friendly and helpful staff, the customer continued, “... it’s a great family environment.” General Manager Matt Parr or Big M, which is his father’s nickname for him, circulates continually among the guests, exchanging comments measuring levels of customer satisfaction. Staff will clean the freshly caught fish for a small fee, freeze it while you catch more - there are no limits - and finally put ice in the plastic bags to hold your fish for the trip home. Or you can barbecue the fish on site in one of the picnic areas. Big M has charcoal barbecue kettles for patron use and they ask that you bring a bag, although they have small bags to purchase for emergencies. The pricing structure includes a basic $15 to fish all day, allowing you two pounds of trout or catfish, the only fish you can catch and keep. You pay extra for anything over two pounds. Bring your own fishing pole or rent one of Matt’s. And you don’t need a fishing license for this. Big M Fishery is licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game. So the licensing issues have been taken care of for you. While the overall fishing season at Big M runs from the first weekend in March through the last weekend in November, with a two-week bonus opening at the end of December, the trout season is shorter, lasting only through Memorial Day. Catfish are available throughout the farm’s nine-month season. According to Parr, “rainbows are the best eating.” But, he allows there is some subjectivity in that opinion as many patrons prefer the catfish. Until 1991, Big M Fishery 20-acre site was a rice farm. Then Matt and other family members - Big M is still a family operation - fulfilled some dreams and opened their venture with fresh well-water ponds. Matt, with several years’ business experience in the hospitality industry, is the Big M general manager and on-site trouble-shooter. Season weekends routinely see between 75 and 90 anglers testing their skills, fulfilling Parr’s stated goal, “to provide a great family experience.” For details on the various programs, fees and special events, go to the company’s website at bigmfishery.com.